Nursing professionals
Master of Science in

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 1 to start May 26
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30 to start August 21
  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 1, 2023, to start January 8, 2024

Admissions Help

If you have any questions throughout the admissions process, please contact an admissions counselor.

Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

Specifically, as an applicant to Penn State's online MSN program, you must have a bachelor's degree in nursing from a program accredited by a national accrediting agency for nursing and hold a current license to practice professional nursing in the United States.


  • GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
  • Grades of B or better in all sciences and nursing courses
  • College chemistry and statistics (NOTE: Chemistry is not required for those applying to the Nurse Administrator option.)

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. — Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required. The program prefers an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.3. Official GRE or GMAT test scores will be considered if submitted, but are NOT required.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Please note that for entrance into a Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing graduate-level program, the minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 580 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 25 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 7.0.

References (2) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.  

If you completed college-level courses over the last five years, an academic reference is required. Other references should be from a nursing supervisor, preferably holding a degree higher than yours.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Personal Statement — In order for the admissions committee to evaluate your potential, please write a narrative addressing these bulleted items (single-spaced and no more than 300 words):

  • your relevant work experience
  • your goals for graduate study and for future career development
  • clearly articulated reasons for applying to the selected option at Penn State
  • any other information you would consider pertinent to your application

The Graduate Admissions Committee considers the Goal Statement very seriously. Your Goal Statement reflects your ability to express yourself clearly and concisely in writing and indicates the fit of your goals with the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing graduate program.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
  • Choose "Nursing" as the major
  • Choose "Master of Science Nursing (MSN)" as the degree
  • Then, be sure to choose either "Nurse Administrator" or "Nurse Educator" as the option

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Penn State World Campus Graduate

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